There have always been anti-government types, regardless of which government or which parties are in power. “Power” is probably the operative word here.

But lately, for the last couple decades perhaps, their numbers have grown. I’m quite sure that social media has played a large part in this. People who couldn’t name more than a handful of politicians can now rattle off an entire alphabetized list, AND tell you who’s who and what position they hold.

At the same time, folks have continuously and more vociferously clamored for change—removal of pork from proposed bills, term limits, inclusion of a third party, and so on and so forth.

Let me take a minute to talk about this “third party,” otherwise known as Libertarians. Their main premise is that everyone is free to do what they wish as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. All well and good, and I can’t really argue with this, but their candidates are so loosely bound by this that there is no cohesion and no oversight. And I don’t believe they’ll be a valid party until this changes. I’m sure you’re familiar with “if you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Today’s scuttlebutt is centered around Parler and free speech. No, free speech has not gone down the toilet, but rumor-mongering and fear-mongering certainly have. The reason Google and Apple are cracking down is twofold: incitement to violence and, to use a Trump phrase, “fake news.” Facebook, of course, has been diligent about removing both.

NONE of these businesses—key word—are censoring anything but violence and bullshit. Just because you read “Facebook has removed” or “Facebook is not allowing” a certain post means nothing at all; mostly because you are, at that moment, reading what they supposedly removed.

Let’s say you own a retail shop. Someone comes in and starts spouting some BS, maybe the classical “the End is nigh!” sort of thing, and so you do what? You escort him from the premises, at the very least. Maybe you ban him from ever coming back. Because, well, it’s YOUR business. Ditto for the tech giants.

Now, I’ve said this before: none of these entities are removing your OPINION (unless it incites violence), but yes, they’re removing false links. Like “drink bleach to beat the ‘Rona.” Basically, they’re protecting stupid people. Also: no, an unknown individual did not “crack the code” or see something sinister to either beat the ‘Rona or prove fraud. Didn’t happen. Stop spreading the bullshit.

As for the violence part, wow, I’ve read some interesting stuff today. You’re familiar, of course, with the “yelling fire in a crowded theater?” Same thing. You CAN, but there are consequences.

I’m appalled at what happened in DC a few days ago. (I’m also appalled that the DC mayor called for statehood RIGHT NOW at this particular time—seriously, WTH?? But that’s a different issue.) It was a perfect storm, engineered between QAnon, so-called patriots, and people I can only describe as mentally unbalanced and mentally challenged. And regular people who got caught up in it all.

I do know people who subscribe to many of these things. They’re regular people, nice people. But they got pulled in anyway, and I can only pray they realize this at some point. If you support change, I’m with you; if you support change through burning and killing and so forth, that’s a big nope.

QAnon has screwed with many, many people. Mostly regular folks. They included just enough detail and Christianity to appeal to a wide spectrum. They are false. They are fake. They are bullshit. Can’t say this enough. Believe me or not, your choice; eventually, you’ll see it.

There is not a cabal of elites engaging in worldwide child trafficking. There is not. They do not control our government. Nope. They don’t. JFK is not alive and is not who is behind QAnon. Nope. He just isn’t. I could go on and on and it’s all a big nope.

There are so many ways to effect change that storming the Capitol building and acting like a bunch of spring break partiers shouldn’t ever be on the radar—not if you’re serious about that change.

What is a patriot? A patriot is one who believes in and loves his country. You can be a patriot and not be insane, in spite of what the media says.

I consider myself a patriot—and not one of those with questionable morals and intelligence. I stand squarely in the middle. Not lukewarm, again, squarely in the middle. I believe there needs to be governmental change, but not via a little B&E. Or a lot of B&E. Or silly costumes. [Insert very, very hard eyeroll]

How would this work? I don’t know yet. But I know how it won’t. And the first thing we need is calm and dignity from the Whitehouse.


Parler Experiment

Goofy. Sign-up involved a couple errors, captchas, and SMS codes. Took a few minutes and was pretty aggravating.

So far, on my home page, the top bar looks exactly like the one on Facebook, except I can choose a color. Each post has options at the bottom that look exactly like those on Twitter, for reply, see replies, etc. All the recommendations of who I should follow are, predictably, conservative pundits, hosts, and government types.

And it randomly logs me out, which means another captcha and another SMS code, and it randomly refreshes or changes the page. So far, it’s kinda sucky.

Now, Facebook has 2.7 billion users; Parler has 2.7 million—not counting all those “attending” a Facebook event to drop their accounts and switch to Parler on, I believe, November 13th.

Speaking for myself, I joined Facebook in 2009 to reconnect with old friends, share pics with family, and then, a few years later, for promotion and sales and marketing. None of that has changed.

Does Facebook aggravate me? Yes. I hate those “improvements” that really aren’t helpful at all, “pokes” are super annoying, and I’m sick and tired of them reminding me about things—like voting, registering to vote, seeing election results, and so forth. And when it isn’t election season, they choose other things in which I have little interest.

I know a lot of folks who are switching over to Parler because of freedom of speech. I find that very interesting as I do, occasionally, post something controversial. However, I do so in my own words, not by copy/pasting someone else’s words or sharing links. If I do post someone else’s thoughts, I make sure it’s clear they aren’t mine.

I’ve never been in “Facebook jail.” Probably because I don’t post stupid stuff from QAnon or others of their ilk. I certainly don’t post opinion pieces as fact. And even though I see probably a dozen posts a day that include the words “Facebook doesn’t allow this to be shared,” I’ve seen no evidence of those posts being removed—or else Facebook is really, really bad at the removal part.

Today, I posted a query comparing the move to Parler to the supposed move to Canada four years ago. I got a lot of interesting answers, incorporating some of the reasons above. Mainly, some Facebook users believe that Facebook only censors conservative posts. Boy, if they do, they are purely bad at this censoring thing, because half my friends there are conservative and I see all their stuff.

I did a few searches on Parler. There are a fair number of both users and hashtags—this is how the search is set up—that are anti-Antifa, white supremacist-related, and plenty of QAnon. Any search on “Jew” or “Jewish” only turned up things like “Jewish Conservative” or “Jews for Trump,” in spite of someone’s claim that the site is for anti-Semites. But I didn’t look too closely. The whole thing is kind of icky.

Now, me, I could probably whittle down my core beliefs to maybe ten points, possibly with sub-points, but I have NEVER been censored by Facebook for any of my opinions—or links to articles that I’ve posted. Never. And I’ve been on Facebook for almost twelve years. Are there things that irritate me? Yes. That’s the way the world works.

I recently posted there and told people they should stop posting stupid shit—incorrect information, conspiracy theories, whacked-out stuff, things that aren’t even searchable because it’s pulled out of someone’s, well, you understand. Naturally, no one listened, instead, many are moving to Parler. Well, to be clear, they SAY they’re moving to Parler.

I used to know this guy that, for several years, claimed he was leaving Facebook and would periodically announce it, but it literally was FIVE YEARS before he left. Come on… I know several people who deactivate their Facebook accounts every couple months because—WHY?? If you don’t want to get on the site, just don’t; if you want to leave, just leave. I saw a cartoon this morning regarding a “dramatic exit.” Yep, that’s it.

So, I guess if you want to only be around people who think exactly like you, who will affirm your brand of bullshit, and if you want to leave behind friends and family, that’s your choice. I wish you the best, but I’m not sure you’ll get it with Parler—so far, it takes me ten minutes to even log on and I’ve heard of many people having the same issues. But for Pete’s sake, just do it if you’re going to—you don’t need to announce it or wait for a so-called event. Frankly, I’m curious as to how far my friends list is going to shrink…that will tell me a lot about you.